NBA and NBPA Working on Mental Wellness Program

Professional sports provide many with a form of escape from their daily lives. It sparks debates, brings people of different backgrounds together and helps fulfills the competitive drive within many.

With the NFL, NBA and MLB generating billions in revenue annually and player contracts the most lucrative they’ve ever been, it’s easy to view the lives of professional athletes as those of little-to-no worries. What’s often not given the attention as the dollar amount of their contracts are the demands placed on them by those contracts, family needs, already suppressed mental issues, and the pressures that come with a life in the public eye.

A Focus on Mental Wellness

There has been recent progress made in professional sports on the handling and addressing of mental health issues. National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts recently revealed that the NBA and the NBPA are creating a mental wellness program for players.

In an interview with SB Nation, Roberts said “Everyone makes much ado about physical health and making sure these athletes are able to stay injury free so they can play. It’s been preposterous not to realize that mental wellness needed to be given attention.”

Roberts also called it “a shame” that mental wellness in the NBA has been overlooked.

Players Speaking Out on Their Issues

Just recently, Toronto Raptors All-Star DeMar DeRozan went public in acknowledging he suffers from depression. His admission led to Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star Kevin Love to open up about his own mental health issues in an essay published on The Player’s Tribune titled “Everyone Is Going Through Something.”

One in four adults has a mental health condition. That’s over 60 million Americans and 56 percent of American adults with mental illness do not receive treatment even with more having access to services.

Considering that many players that enter the NBA are as young as 18 when they are drafted, the pressure that comes with the weight of expectations both personally and professionally can wear on any young adult.

Perhaps the most prevalent aspects of the program, according to Roberts, is that it would be completely independent and separate from teams, the NBA and the NBPA. This would give players privacy to help receive the treatment they need without fear of any personal information being shared by organizations.


The productivity of each player on the roster is essential to the success of any franchise. Making strides to assure that they have the proper attention off the court to be at their best is just as important as having the best to help develop their skills on the court. The program isn’t yet fully in place but it’s another example of an industry placing a concentrated effort on the wellness and wellbeing of their employees.

Employees Say Office Food is the Biggest Obstacle to Wellness

According to findings from a Robert Half survey, 66 percent of HR managers say their organizations health and wellness offerings have increased in the past five years. However, many workers feel the food habits at their office are a deterrent to those offerings.

No matter the amount of morning yoga sessions, walking meetings or reimbursed gym memberships, the type of food around the office can sabotage any of those measures.

Keeping Your Hands Out of the Cookie Jar

30 percent of employees said that food at office celebrations. Candy, cakes and cookies may seem like harmless snacks, but the temptation can lead to indulging by those looking to maintain a healthy diet and serve as detrimental to the overall goals of the individual and the company. Other big deterrents listed was snacks brought in by coworkers (22%), free meals (10), the vending machine (10), the office candy jar (10), happy hours/after-work drinks (9), business trips (8), and bagel Monday’s (3).

44 percent reported that they ate better when they worked from home, which means that those workers feel when tasked with choosing the food at their office, or having to order out, they are less likely to have or select healthy options than if they prepared their own lunches.

Alternative Food Options

Fresh fruits and raw vegetables are a popular item. Bananas make the top of many dietary experts snack lists because of their nutrition value and with them being a healthy, sweet-tasting alternative to sugary snack.

Other options employers can stock their kitchens with these alternatives:

  • Low-fat granola bars
  • Light popcorn
  • Individual portions of peanut butter
  • Pretzels
  • Baked chips
  • Trail mix
  • Roasted or whole nuts
  • Whole wheat bagels
  • Flavored, low sugar water

Employers can also check out the free workplace nutrition tools and resources compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Conclusion

The good is that 89 percent of employees feel their company is supportive of their health and wellness goals. By providing healthier food options, employers can help their employees sustain higher energy levels longer and help keep them better aligned with the employers overall goals of their health and wellness offerings.

This Company Takes Workplace Wellness Very Seriously

Billions of dollars are now being spent by companies on workplace wellness. All with the goal to reduce health insurance cost and to keep employees from getting burned out. One problem facing most of these companies is the low participation numbers with the initiatives being rolled out. Many employees aren’t knowledgeable about the programs offered and don’t want to participate because they feel that they have enough on their plate, and others not feeling comfortable enough.
Taking Wellness to the Next Level 
In making sure that each of their employees know exactly what the program is before they even begin their first day, one Philadelphia-based investment management firm is taking wellness to the next level.
At FS Investments, new recruits undergo a physical assessment, where their bodies and movements are analyzed. Perks of employment include free meals issued out by a staff dietician. All the food served in the office also meets a clean” requirement. Meaning there are no desserts, soft drinks or sugary snacks available. There is an onsite, free gym that’s open 24/7, offering personal training and fitness programs with morning and mid-day classes. The actual program, aptly named the Journey,” was designed by Exos (human performance company).”
FS doesn’t force this program on its employees, but to actually get on the meal plan, they do have to go through a consultation, where they’re asked questions regarding their health goals, medical history and eating habits.  This may seem intrusive to many, but according to the firm’s CEO, Michael Forman, the company’s health insurance costs are down 23 percent and the participating employees collectively reduced their body fat by 10 percent in the program’s first year.
Forman didn’t divulge any financial figures, only offering that the cost is not insignificant.”
In Conclusion
While this program might be more extensive than some companies are willing to go, it does help offer some insight to the seriousness in which employers are now taking the wellness of their employees.